SPENCER - While the Estherville Lincoln Central boys had a slow start to both the first and third quarters, the Midgets still only trailed by nine in the fourth quarter thanks to good defense throughout the night.
However, the defense disappeared in the closing minutes as Spencer pulled away for a 51-32 victory on Friday.
"We had some of our best defense in the first half-we had good help defense and we made things uncomfortable for (post player) Matt Klemme," said ELC coach York Plagge. "Offensively, we didn't look as sharp tonight.
ELC’s Matt Burrell dumps a pass underneath to teammate Tucker Milburn for an easy two points during first-quarter play against Spencer on Friday.
EDN photo by David Swartz
The Midgets trailed 12-1 after nearly 5 minutes of play, but finally hit a couple baskets to get within 14-7 by the end of the first period.
While the Midgets' defense kept the Tigers from scoring much, Tyler Swanson, Derek Nieland and Matt Burrell all hit 3-pointers as ELC pulled within one, 17-16, late in the first period.
But the Tigers scored the final four points to lead 21-16 at the break.
ELC's offensive struggles continued in the third quarter while Spencer when on a 12-2 run.
A 3-pointer by Adam Reiter was followed by five straight points from Burrell as ELC pulled within seen, 33-26, late in the third quarter. ELC trailed 35-26 to start the final frame and still trailed by nine when Evan Hansen had a steal and layup with 5:25 remaining.
ELC stayed cold though as Spencer out-scored ELC 13-3 to close out the game.
Burrell led ELC with 15 points while Reiter had four, Nieland, Swanson and Tucker Milburn each had three while Joe Heinrichs and Hansen each had two.
ELC was 5-for-13 from the free throw line as Spencer (10-4, 7-2) was 12-of-14 from the line.
After 10 first-half turnovers, ELC finished the game with 16. The Tigers out-rebounded ELC 30-23.
Klemme led Spencer with 14 points and Blake Altenhofen had 10.
ELC (6-10 overall, 3-6 in the conference) hosts Storm Lake on Tuesday.